Now Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” (Genesis 30:14-15)
Jacob’s first born, Reuben, went into the field during the wheat harvest and found what is known in Hebrew as dudaim. No one is absolutely certain just what they were (one translation says, “love apples”) but apparently it was believed they had fertility inducing qualities. If that was the case, considering that Leah had stopped conceiving, this is an indication that Jacob’s children were getting involved in the struggle going on between the two sisters.
The fact that Rachel was willing to give up her night with Jacob in exchange for some of Reuben’s mandrakes strongly suggests that she felt they were the answer to her prayer fro children. She told Leah “He (Jacob) shall lie with you tonight for your son’s dudaim.” Rachel knows that Leah has stopped having children and she obviously felt this was her opportunity to outshine Leah in this regard but her plan backfired. The mandrakes did nothing for Rachel and “God hearkened unto Leah and she conceived and bore a son” (Gen. 30:17).
God responded to a woman’s prayer, not dudaim, love potions and schemes, thus making the point that He alone is in control of the destiny of His people. Charms and superstitions have no power and should have no place among God’s people. When we have a need, we are to look to Him for answers and provision and acknowledge that He our true and only source for assistance. As David wrote:
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills— from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)
Blessings and Shalom,